We’ve all worked hard to reduce our water usage in the garden. I thought I had done just about all I could considering time, effort and most importantly, money! But then I remembered a book by Rebecca Sweet called Refresh Your Garden Design with Color, Texture & Form. While her book is about garden design, her approach is perfect for water savings as well. And a lot of fun, too!
We all get what Rebecca calls “familiarity blindness” in our own gardens. Yes, we may see our gardens every day, from close up and as a whole. But how can we take a new, objective look at our garden? I followed the recipe in the chapter called “Seeing with Fresh Eyes” by starting with my personal garden designer—my camera.
You don’t need a fancy camera. Most phones now can take great photos. I took around a hundred photos of my garden, including some from inside the house looking out. I printed out a few large pictures, and reviewed the rest on the computer.
I discovered many small, easy changes such as taking out plants that were just filler and really didn’t look great, and plants that were being crowded out by bigger, less beautiful ones. Then there were the plants that grew too high near the house, blocking sunlight from coming in, and blocking views of the garden from inside.
But the real magic that the photos showed was that I was blind to two exceptionally large changes that could save lots of water. One area was a garden bed of protea and lavender. When the blooms died, the whole thing looked like a woody mess. I capped five sprinklers, and pulled out all the plants and shared them with my friends. This area of my garden is now a rock mosaic in progress. I am having a blast looking for rocks and drawing up designs. Rocks don’t need maintenance or water!
The second area for big change was the side yard. It never appeared in any pictures of my garden, and no visitors ever went there. So I thought, why am I watering it, planting it, and maintaining it? It’s about 50 feet by 7 feet. It has pavers with lots of plants, mostly succulents, on both sides of the path–and ten sprinklers. No more. I’ve have been potting up the plants and selling them. I plan to add rock designs using leftover rocks from the mosaic. I’m the only person who walks through there, so it is just for me!
So thanks to my personal garden designer, Mr. Nikon–and Rebecca, too.